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Is there a specific exercise over another that aids in brain recovery?

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Senior physical therapist

Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with Dr. Cristen Gordon (pt.1):


I think a lot of people have weakness, tightness, or coordination issues after a brain injury. The first thing is to determine what needs to be worked on and what the primary objective is in terms of improving your function. I think the body is very reliant on muscle balance, meaning you need to have the correct amount of strength and the correct amount of tightness in your muscles in order to function. A physical therapist could help you figure out if there is a muscle imbalance causing the issue. If there's a coordination issue, that's a whole different set of exercises. I would say just from my personal experience I've had plenty of patients that have had a brain injury that didn't have issues with tightness or weakness, but coordination was the issue. Almost all of the patients that I've worked with have had coordination issues, so if you're making me choose one, it would probably be coordination training.


In terms of what goes into coordination training, there's something called proprioception training your brain to know what your body is doing without looking at it. It is also working on the accuracy of movement and the timing of movement. Then it’s the ability to put all three of those things together to get the specific movement that you're trying to work on. It can be complicated and it can be fun. I will admit coordination training can also be a bit repetitive because it's all about just practice until you get the results that you want. I imagine that's true for something like a sport as well, where the more you practice something the more it becomes memory. This includes throwing a football, passing a soccer ball, or hitting a tennis ball. That's the same thing that you're talking about and you'll hear the term muscle memory. That's really a form of coordination where your brain remembers exactly what position to get the muscle in and exactly how to do whatever the thing that you're trying to do is at the right time. So it's all three of those things put together.